Gratitude. It’s a word we hear a lot these days. In most personal development teachings, we talk about gratitude and the incredible power that gratitude harnesses. In my book, Give A Shift: 10 Simple Steps To An Abundant Life, I devote an entire chapter to gratitude.
In this chapter, I go to great lengths to distinguish what I call “convenient gratitude” from “deliberate gratitude.” Convenient gratitude, I argue, is when people wait for major milestones in their lives before they stop and show their gratitude for what has happened. A new job. A new home. A new baby. A new relationship. You get the idea. These are the things that cause people to pause and recognize the wonderful blessings that have been bestowed on them.
This, I write, is in contrast to deliberate gratitude. Deliberate gratitude is training your brain to be grateful for the seemingly small things that we experience in our lives each and every day. These are not things that happen to us, but rather things around us. The miracles that surround us every day. The feel of the warm sun on our face after a long winter. The blossoming of the flowers. The magic of a sunset. The miracle of reproduction—from plants to animals to people. And on and on.
When we stop and show gratitude for these miracles, more of them tend to show up in our lives. And the more we show gratitude, the higher we are able to raise our vibration and come into alignment with Source Energy.
As it turns out, this is only part of the story.
This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend my first Abraham-Hicks workshop. It was more powerful than I could ever have imagined!
Not surprisingly, the idea of gratitude came up. But not in the way I thought it would.
Abraham said that most people approach gratitude from the standpoint of acknowledging what was previously missing from their lives. From this standpoint, they are putting themselves in a negative vibration. Wow! I had never even considered that. This type of gratitude is, in fact, similar to what I call convenient gratitude; the “getting” of things previously missing from one’s life. But I had never considered this a bad thing, but rather just not the only thing.
Abraham continued to explain that not only does this type of gratitude focus on what was or is missing and causing a negative vibration but that this negative vibration will only keep more wonderful things from happening – the exact opposite of what most people think would happen by showing gratitude in these situations, myself included!
Furthermore, Abraham said that gratitude in this nature is usually based in resentment. Resentment! I was trying to wrap my head around what Abraham was saying. Yes, I agree that this kind of gratitude isn’t the best, but mostly because opportunities to express gratitude in this sense are typically few and far between, not because the basis of it was resentment!
I needed to stop and think about this some more. And when I did, it all made perfect sense.
What Abraham was saying was that when we finally show gratitude like this, what we are really saying is, “I was waiting for this to happen because I wasn’t really happy without it.” Bingo. There’s the resentment. And with resentment comes the negative vibration. With the resentment comes more things to be resentful for, as the universal law dictates. You attract the very things that match your vibration. Negative vibration, negative experiences.
Instead of using the term gratitude, Abraham suggests we use the word appreciation or satisfaction.
When you show your appreciation for someone or something, it is not based on the prior absence of it. Rather, it is based in the true sincere recognition and enjoyment of it. And this stance is only one of positivity. And this, in turn, raises your vibration and brings your vibration in harmony with your Source thus attracting to you more things to be appreciative for!
I suppose this viewpoint is more in line with what I refer to as deliberate gratitude, but I still feel there is a subtle yet important distinction. Appreciation has a more positive sound to me. It just feels better. It feels more natural. Deliberate gratitude almost feels like work, not at all what I had intended.
Thank you, Abraham, for this critical clarification. I sincerely appreciate it!
In order to live your best life personally, professionally, and spiritually, you have to live what is called a God-conscious life. Don’t get thrown off by the term “God.” Call it whatever you want. The term refers to the invisible intelligence that created the entire universe–the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent energy that is the source of everything else.
But what does it mean to live a God-conscious life, and how can it help you become the best version of yourself you can be?
First of all, it is a way of life. In fact, it’s something the happiest, most prosperous people on the planet deliberately strive for each and every day.
Second, it is a state of being that gets stronger every day. It is not a chore or a task. Eventually, it will radiate from the inside out.
Third, it is not a destination that is ever actually reached. Rather, it is a path, a journey that you continue throughout your life. You will walk towards but never reach. Reaching it would imply an end and Source Energy has no beginning nor end.
But even if we can’t get “there”, wherever there is, it’s still a way of life worth pursuing. Why? Because it is from here that you can ultimately have, do, or be anything you want and it is from here that you will see miracles show up time and time again in your life.
The Tao Te Ching teaches us that there are 4 virtues to live from and Lao Tzu promises that if you live your life according to them you will live a God-conscious life.
In other words, practicing these 4 things every day will help you become the very best version of yourself you can be and live your very best life. Isn’t that what we all want?
1: Reverence For All Life
Having reverence for life meaning loving all life forms including all plants, animals, and people. We must revere all life forms and see all life as individual expressions of God. When you do this, you instantly remove all forms of judgment from your life which blocks the flow of the Divine Spirit from coming to you. Live from a place of unconditional love for all life, including yourself and watch the miracles start appearing in your life.
Gentleness is exactly what you think: being kind to everyone and everything and having a deep sense of compassion for others. Kindness, gentleness, compassion, and love are at the heart of this second virtue. And when you live a God-conscious life, you will always put gentleness above all else. This means letting go of false beliefs your ego wants you to hold onto, beliefs about right and wrong, good and bad, and so on. There is no room for being right when you live from a place of gentleness. When you have the choice to be right or kind, always choose kind.
3: Authenticity and Simplicity
To live our best life, we must be true to ourselves. We must live from a place of authenticity and simplicity. Don’t over complicate your life by trying to be someone you are not. At the same time, you must also follow through on what you say. Be the person you say you are; don’t be a phony. Walk the walk and talk the talk.
This virtue teaches us to put giving and serving at the heart of everything we do. Each day, you must ask, “How may I serve?” And when you do so without expectation of reward, you are living from your highest self, and the Universe will respond by saying, “How may I serve you?”
If you look closely at all four virtues, and what it means to live a God-conscious life, it all boils down to one essential element: always choose love over fear.
To live a God-conscious life according to the 4 cardinal virtues you must let go of your ego, your false sense of self, and connect to your true authentic nature, your Divine source, your Spirit. And when you are connected to Source Energy, you become what I like to say is a magnet for miracles!
In fact, true God-conscious people actually become miracle workers themselves! They can create and manifest virtually anything they want. As Joel Goldsmith said, “In the presence of the God-realized, the laws of the material world do not apply.”
I encourage you each day to be mindful of these 4 virtues and live your life according to them. I promise you that when you do, your life will be overflowing with blessings and you will truly become the very best version of yourself you can possibly be! xx
It has been said that we are spiritual beings having temporary human experiences. And I believe this to be true. But have you ever thought about how temporary your human experience might actually be?
While this may sound depressing, it is actually meant to be quite the opposite. It is meant to inspire you to live your best life NOW so you can reach and unleash your full potential!
But let me ask you something. When you hear or read “700,000 hours” as a measurement of time, what comes to mind? I recently conducted an informal study of this very question. I asked my friends and family to try to translate that unit of time into something more relatable. How long did they think 700,000 hours was (without stopping to calculate it – just off the top of their head)? I asked them if it sounded like a long period of time or a relatively short period of time. Though their answers varied, one common theme stood out: most people felt that 700,000 hours seemed like a relatively short amount of time. Some thought it perhaps equaled one year, others said a few years and still others said around five years or so. Does this question have you wondering just how long 700,000 hours is???
Turns out that 700,000 hours is equal to 80 years.
Yup. 80 years! Think about it for a second. The average human life expectancy is around 80 years or only 700,000 hours! When you measure your human existence in terms of hours, it suddenly seems shockingly short! At 42, I have already lived over half of this timeframe so, in theory, I have less than 350,000 hours left to go (give or take a few thousand on either side, I suppose).
Our lives are a gift, but they can also be shockingly short. I know it’s a cliche that people take life for granted, but it’s true. Most people do.
So, how can you maximize your human experience and live your best life, temporary though it may be?
I encourage you to live each day by the following 5 credos:
- Discover your dharma
In her book, The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, palliative nurse Bronnie Ware, tells us that the number one regret of the dying is that they wish they had had the courage to live their lives true to themselves, not the lives others expected of them. In other words, they wish they had had the courage to follow their dreams.
Each of us has a dharma, a purpose in life, and it is up to us to find out what that purpose is. In doing so, we will be able to truly fulfill our individual destinies and reach our full potential.
The majority of people never discover their true calling or have the courage to follow it if they do. Sadly, too many people die with their music still inside of them.
Don’t let that be you.
You must listen to your inner calling. Don’t ignore it! Let yourself be guided by God and don’t underestimate your intuition. Your intuition is your Source speaking to you, but too many of us think we are smarter than Source. We let our egos get the best of us and we let our egos rather than intuition lead the way.
If you have a burning desire, you must follow it. You must nurture it and give it room to grow and blossom. Fear stops people in their tracks time and time again. Fear of what others will think. Fear of failing. Fear of humiliation. Fear of not knowing if it will “work out”. But fear is nothing more than your ego telling you it is smarter than your Source. And as a Course in Miracles teaches us, fear is the opposite of love. Fear is the kiss of death to discovering your destiny and reaching your full potential.
To live a purpose-filled life, we must lead always with love and let love lead the way. Only then can we fulfill our destinies, reach our full potential, and live our best lives.
- Being a workaholic is NOT a prerequisite for success
In today’s society, hustling has become synonymous with success. “Hustle” has become today’s hottest mantra. If you've spent any amount of time browsing through online entrepreneurial or success sites, you've likely read countless tidbits extolling the virtues of hustling…
“Hustle until your haters ask if you're hiring.”
“Turn down your feelings, turn up your hustle.”
and, of course, “Good things come to those who hustle.”
At first blush, the hustle rhetoric seems harmless. After all, we all want to succeed! And, of course, hard work and dedication are a big part of building a business or a career, aren't they?
If you're like me, you probably grew up hearing about how success comes to those who put their nose to the grindstone. How life is a constant struggle and you need to stay focused and make the best of it. We're taught from a young age that work is SUPPOSED to be hard. My father used to tell me all the time “That's why they call it work and not play!” And that to reach the level of success you truly desire you must work long, exhausting hours to do so.
But what happens to people who buy into the idea of 24/7 hustle? Who work constantly and let stress, resentment, and negative energies build up in their bodies?
They get burnt out and they end up hating what they do, leaving them unfilled both professionally and personally.
In my book Give A Shift I discuss the fact that the hustle mindset is a consequence of a scarcity mindset. A reaction to the idea of constant competition, the idea that there is a finite amount of success available in the world and that those who don't work like crazy every day of the week will inevitably fall behind as others grab up the opportunities.
Total bullshift, if you ask me!
The truth is that there are an infinite number of opportunities available. Hell, you can even create your own! This idea of scarcity is exactly what's keeping most people locked up in their office and missing out on what the rest of life has to offer. Letting go off that mindset? It was one of the most liberating and freeing decisions of my life.
And now I have created the life I want by surrendering than hustling, by letting go rather than leaning in, and by discovering and using my Superpower to create any reality I want—and you can too!
- You become what you think about whether you know it or not
Oddly enough, thoughts are things most people never even think about. Strange, right? Human beings have between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts per day and yet most people are totally unaware of the power of their thoughts and so do very little to guard them.
Rather, like many people, I had always let my thoughts control me. They came naturally, and I never considered the quality of my thoughts. I had never even thought to think about my thoughts. I believed my thoughts were mine alone, and that they stayed within the physical boundaries of my human head.
Because of this, and because of the competitive plane I existed on, I allowed myself to think anything I wanted without any knowledge of the implications. Sometimes, they were thoughts of envy or jealousy. Other times, it was criticism and judgment. Of course, good thoughts were there too: thoughts of love, happy and joyful thoughts, thankful thoughts. The problem was that every thought was random and just came and went at its leisure without any contemplation on my part at all.
But our thoughts are literally our Superpower. Our thoughts are like 3D printers in our subconscious minds printing out exactly what we put in.
You have—all of us have—a power so strong within us that it is literally like a magical force, like superpower quality! How cool is that? Yet how absolutely tragic it is that so few people even know they possess this superpower.?
Thoughts are vibratory impulses of energy and information. And, contrary to popular belief, these thought vibrations do not remain in your head. Rather, they are sent out into the universe as intentions, as your “wishes,” if you will. Thoughts control the entire vibratory quality of your being. They send out a vibratory signal and send back to you things that reside only on that same frequency.
And like with all waves—like sound waves and light waves—once thought waves have been created and transmitted out into the universe, you cannot take them back or change them. That would be equivalent to thinking that sounds waves could be reversed. Well, the same is true for thoughts. You cannot undo your thoughts or rewind them. You can, however, learn to control your thoughts, intentions, and feelings. And when you do, you can use your superpower to attract the means and methodologies you need to manifest all that you want in life, regardless of the years and decades of wrong thinking you may have had.
According to Charles Haanel in his book The Master Key System, “Thought is the plastic material with which we build images of our growing conception of life.” Thoughts, the energy waves that make up our thoughts, become building plans that manifest as reality. Legendary author Wallace Wattles said it perfectly: “As a man thinketh, so he becomes.” Try to grasp how utterly mind-blowing this is. Our thoughts literally control our destiny. And rather than this being some kind of wishful thinking, quantum physics is at the heart of it all. And though this is a gargantuan concept to understand, when you do understand it, it will be one of the most significant life-altering concepts you will ever come to know.
- You have the power to literally change the world
Let me explain how I can make such a bold claim. See, this is more than lip service. You literally have the power to impact and change the world because we all share one human consciousness.
Everything in life is made up of energy. Spiritual teachers have been teaching us this for thousands of years and now science proves this to be so. As such, we are also made up of energy that merely appears as individual forms. But our energy interacts with everyone else’s energy. And it doesn’t just and not only interacts with it but also impacts it. This is really powerful because it literally means we can live from higher and higher states of consciousness and raise the consciousness of those around us— our friends, family, and community— simply by raising our own!
One way we can continuously raise our consciousness is through meditation. In fact,
one form of meditation I practice twice a day for 20 minutes is Transcendental Meditation (TM). It’s been proven that TM can and does impact the planet at large. The “Maharishi Effect” is the term that refers to the fact that individual consciousness actually impacts our collective consciousness, and a large number of studies have been undertaken to prove this theory.
One such study was conducted in Washington, DC, in the early 1990s by quantum physicist John Hagelin. At this time, DC was riddled with excessive crime. The goal of the study was to show that if enough people practiced TM together twice a day, it would have a significant impact on criminal behavior. The hypothesis was met with much skepticism by many prominent professionals. However, much to the amazement of many, there was an unprecedented 23 percent reduction in crime during this time. There’s a practice called “Yogic Flying” which involves high brainwave coherence, and studies on this phenomenon have shown that 7000 individuals practicing it together can actually reduce violent and negative trends on a GLOBAL scale!
When we raise our own consciousness, we can literally transform the world!
- Nourish your body like your life depends on it—because it does
Our physical bodies are miracles. Even though they are temporary, they are miraculous. There are 6 trillion reactions happening in our bodies per second. Per second! And each one knows what the others are doing. Our cells dance in a perfectly choreographed arrangement all day, every day without any effort on our part at all. So, even though we are spiritual beings having a temporary human existence, our physical bodies are our soul’s temple, (at least for the time being).
We must take care of and protect these temples as if they are sacred and holy which they are.
When one part of our basic functions becomes disturbed, the entire being becomes disrupted.
Most of us tend to take our bodies for granted, expecting them to just work perfectly without giving it much thought, until they suddenly experience a sickness, disease, or other illness. Too many people beat up their bodies up year after year after year, and seem to have no regard for the miracle their physical body actually is.
My friend and mentor, Joe Polish sums it up perfectly. He always says:
“If you owned a million dollar race horse, would you feed it garbage and not exercise it properly? No, you would provide the very best of everything to keep the horse in optimal condition.”
The same is true of us. To operate at peak performance and become all we were meant to be, we must treasure our bodies and revere the miraculous wonders they are.
After all, these bodies don’t last forever, right? So to live your best life, follow these 5 credos every day so you can make the most of your own 700,000 hours.
We all have goals.
We have dreams. We have desires.
We have an idea of where we are — and where we want to go.
Which leads us to the million dollar question: why don’t most people achieve what they set out to do? Why do so many people fall short of living the life they want to live, or becoming all they know they can be … all they know they were meant to be?
When trying to reach their goals, people tend to rely on two main strategies:
- Hustling as hard as they can — long hours, no weekends, 100% focus
- Trying to coerce the universe into giving them what they want by demanding it through The Law of Attraction
Unfortunately, both of these methods are severely flawed. Why? Let’s take a closer look.
Of the two methods above, this is the camp that I fell into.Growing up in middle-class America, I was taught to “lean-in” even before it was a thing. I was raised to compete fiercely for corporate positions, to strive for the highest levels of success, and to cultivate a hard-core work ethic. While I did manage to build a successful agency, I certainly didn’t feel fulfilled!
My problem was that I based my value on external success, but I was never able to reach a level of success that made me happy. Every promotion I got, every raise I earned, every new account I landed, every accolade I was given – they only made me look ahead to the next milepost. I felt like I had to work even harder than before to get to the next goal.
So, I worked 12-hour days. I traveled a LOT. I worked through my weekends. Hell, I even brought my laptop on vacations and worked from the beach. The crazy part? I thought that I was doing this for my family, even though doing this took me AWAY from my family. Sure, I told myself that it would all be worth it one day, but look at what I was missing in the meantime!
The constant hustle method? I can tell you from experience — it’s exhausting!
This brings us to second method …
The Law of Attraction
Many people try to achieve their goals by attempting to put this “law” to work in their own lives, only to find themselves coming up short time and time again.
But why? Is it the law itself that is flawed? Or is the problem in how people try to use it?
It’s both, actually.
In many ways, this method is the exact opposite of hustling.
Proponents of this method often have it very much confused — but not exactly their fault. We’re all taught to believe that all we have to do is make a wish upon a star and — poof — our desires will magically manifest into reality.
It sounds lovely, right?
Unfortunately, thing aren’t so simple. When people attempt this method and their wishes fail to come true, they’re left feeling worse than before.
Don’t misunderstand me — while this specific method is ineffective, visualization is still a valuable and crucial practice. Thoughts really do become things, but there’s always action associated with those thoughts and that’s usually the missing element here.
This simplified “Law of Attraction” approach is just a misunderstanding of how the process really works. I'ts a misunderstanding that leads to people trying to force their desires into reality through manipulating the universe, Source Energy, God, whatever name you have for it.
And this will never ever work.
The underlying truth behind this law is rooted deeply in both spirituality and science, something that many of the mass manifestors of today know virtually nothing about. Their misunderstanding leads to misuse, which ultimately leads to nothing at all — rather than everything they wish for.
So, these are the two methods that people fall back on when trying to achieve their goals.
Method 1 involves working a gajillion hours a week and missing out on life along the way, while method 2 involves nothing more than wishful thinking…
BOTH stem from the scarcity mentality.
BOTH are rooted in control and force.
BOTH are rooted in fear.
BOTH are driven by the ego rather than the spirit.
The truth? It’s turns out, God has far greater plans for us than we can ever know, but too many people never know what they might be.
Because they’re not paying attention.
Most people allow their egos to drive their actions. They allow their egos to control their path. More importantly, to control their destiny.
Most people’s egos are yelling so loudly that they can’t hear their souls speaking them. They can’t feel the gentle guidance of Divine love because they are pushing as hard as possible through force. And then they let fear drive most of their decisions.
Instead, we must learn how to quiet the chit-chat of our own internal dialog and let the Source speak to us and through us. We must stop paddling upstream as hard as we can. We must stop thinking we are smarter than God.
The guiding system that will take you where you are meant to be.
The actions you take will be based in love, not fear; in abundance, not scarcity; in spirit, not ego.
And it is only through this process that you will ultimately become all you were meant to be. You will achieve greatness by giving up control and instead giving into divine guidance. You will accomplish MORE by forcing LESS.
When you do this, ideas and inspiration will become crystal clear. You will be compelled to take meaningful and purposeful action towards the expansion of your life and your potential.
And this will take you so much further than you can ever get by hustling or relying on the Law of Attraction. In sum, you will become the very best version of yourself you can ever possibly be.
So … which strategy do you choose?